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10-Nov-2017

Cornish Ceremony Welcomes Christchurch Bard, Heather Gladstone - UK

Heather GladstoneThe sun beamed onto the ruins of the castle at Launceston in Cornwall as the parade of Cornish Bards attending the Gorsedh Kernow made their way into the grounds. The prosession was led by flag bearers carrying the banners of Celtic groups, including the Gorsedh banner with the three rayed Awen symbol meaning inspiration, and representing the attributes of love, justice and truth. The Celtic nations of Brittany and Wales were also represented.

It was quite the specatacle as the 400 men and women clad in their blue robes, reperesenting the colour of the sky, formed a circle and the annual ceremony to welcome newly chosen bards began.

A piper played the Cornish bagpipes. This ancient instrument, long since lost, had been recreated from an image that had been carved onto the end of a church pew. The sound was tuneful but had a more raw, medieval sound compared to the Scottish pipes.

The Grand Bard led the ceremony speaking in Cornish then translating into English. There were calls for all Celtic people to work together for peace and traditional prayers were said.

Christchurch, New Zealand, Cornwall born musician, Heather Gladstone, had travelled from Christchurch in New Zealand to be a part of the ceremony. She was honored for her services to Cornish music and was bestowed with her bardic name of KERNEWES ILOWEK, meaning ‘musical Cornish woman’.

The goal of the Gorsedh is to maintain the Celtic spirit of Cornwall and preserve the cutlture of Celtic people through history, language, music, art, literature, dance and sport.

The honour of Bardship was awarded to Heather as someone who has given exceptional service to Cornwall by a manifestation of the Celtic spirit and service to Cornwall. Since graduating from the University of Canterbury with honours in music, Heather who is passionate about Cornish music has introduced many people to this music through programmes she has run and her work as an accordion, piano, and singing teacher.

Both internationally and within New Zealand as director of the St Alban’s Community Choir, Heather provides Cornish songs and carols for others to learn and perform. She is also a lifetime member of the Christhchurch Cornish Association.

Previously Heather has been honoured in New Zealand with a CCC Community Services Award in 2007, the University of Canterbury Vernon Griffiths Prize for Musical Leadership as a past student of the School of Music who has demonstrated oustanding qualities of musical leadership, in 2012 and a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) in 2015 for services to music.

This 2017 ceremony completed, people moved on to celebrations of traditional Cornish fare, poetry, music and dance.
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